DES MOINES, Iowa- Dena Wright of Colfax was judged first place in the Iowa State Fair Husband Calling Contest. Wright, who had entered before, but had never taken the top prize. Her unique call involved one other person, her husband finally saying “what?” to her calls from the back of the room. In past years her husband was actually there to answer her call, but on this day, he couldn’t be there, so her son played the part instead.
“I was surprised I won,” said Wright. “I thought there were a couple who were better than me.”
The Overall Grand Champion Future Farmers of America Tractor restoration went to Eaton Havlerson of West Union. He bought this old Oliver 1850 last fall, and restored what was once a rough running old tractor.
“Definitely surprising but, all the work that was put into it, it was heavy mechanical work,” said Halverson. “A lot of work doing body work, painting and priming, it takes a lot of work to do one of these.”
Halvorson said he plans to go to college to study medicine, to maybe be a physicians assistant.
Iowa native Tim Sparrow, was showing Percheron horses out of Mona Utah. His giant horse got a blue ribbon in the Halter Class.
“This is Ace, He was World Champion Percheron Gelding at the 2018 Percheron Congress held here in Des Moines,” said Sparrow. “He’s in the wheel of our six and eight horse hitch.”
Not all competitions, are for blue ribbons. At the Iowa State University, in the concept of the Shark Tank TV show is letting 150 students and alumni pitch their ideas to some established entrepreneurs at their booth in Varied Industries Building. One pitch was for something to hold your cell phone in. The top prize will happen Sunday, the winner takes five thousand dollars.
“What this really demonstrates, is the kind of opportunities students have to become entrepreneurs while they are still in college,” said Carole Custer, of Iowa State University Marketing. “This is our way to show the public about how creative these students are in all different ways.”
At the State Fair Friday there was some special food served, and it was not on a stick, but rather a sit-down meal.
“This is really the culmination of a conversation we’ve been having at Agriculture, about the need to really connect with consumers,” said Mike Naig, Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. “Consumers want to know where their food comes from, they want to know who’s doing the producing.”
The Farm to Fair Meal invited 500 people from the city and farms to have a conversation about where food comes from. Each table was provided with discussion starter questions. The food was paid for by various Iowa agriculture industry groups.
“It gives them a better chance to understand what we do, what we do it, and how important the farming is and always will be for the state of Iowa,” said Greg Crouse of Iowa Select Farms.
“I’m really going to enjoy the conversations we have, I think the folks at our table here are engrained in agriculture and farming,” said Louann Trouten, of Moline IL. “Just information we can get from them, and things we learn I’ll share with my son.”
Also up on the hill there is wood carving at the Iowa State Fair. T.J. Jenkins and Gary Keenan spend every day turning out creations of wood, while people sit in the bleachers and watch artwork come out of a log of wood. The artwork will be auctioned off to fund the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation.
“So please come to the auction at 3:30 Sunday and put in a bid, because it helps out the state fair,” said Jenkins. “The Iowa State Fair pays us to come in and entertain you guys, and then the Blue Ribbon Foundation owns all the carvings, they auction them off and receive 100 per cent of the money.”
The Walnut Center Building is filled with all sorts of Iowa artists, and their creations.
Val Neumann of Williamsburg is a potter who actually creates pieces on her potter's wheel, while people look on. She does this full-time for a profession, but it started as a hobby.
“I wanted to get to meet some people so I took an outreach class at a college, non-credited,” said Neumann. “I came home said I wanted a wheel, bought the wheel, and a hobby that turned into a business.”